Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Book Covers and Wine Labels

I like this
Sometimes I choose books and bottles of wine by a similar system: if I like the cover or label, I get it. There are serendipities and disappointments, but it is a fun way to choose and most other methods of selection have failed to offer better results. I recently ordered a book from because I liked the cover art and the title. There was a sunny porch with wicker chairs and a side table with a pitcher of what I liked to think was sweet tea or lemonade. It had a southern feel to it. I envisioned lazy afternoons reading a story of plucky heroines who would warm my heart and make me laugh out loud. When I received the book, the back cover blurb promised an experience along those lines, so I was encouraged.
I began reading and soon started jumping ahead, rather than reading each page through. This is usually a sign that a book isn't clicking for me, but I ignored it. I stuck my bookmark back at the place where I starting skipping and decided to read later when I wasn't so distracted. This experience repeated a number of times. After I had managed to slog through a quarter of the book, a strange thought (for me) crossed my mind. "Why am I reading this book if I don't like it?" I wanted to like it. Wasn't that enough?
There a lots of things that I do because I have to do them. That's part of life. Asking myself whether or not I like paying bills or doing laundry or changing diapers is silly. Those tasks must be done. But reading is different. Reading is for pleasure. For fun. I had become so used to steeling myself to complete daily tasks that I'd turned reading a book into another task.
I've had this tendency for a long time. In college, I remember an afternoon when I was obsessively studying my German flash cards. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Knowing me, it was probably a weekend, too. My friend walked over to me and said, "What are you doing?" She grabbed the cards and threw them out the window. Then she poured me a glass of wine. I knew she did the right thing because I wasn't upset by her decisive action. I was relieved; she had saved me from myself.


  1. As the thrower of those German flash cards, I can assure you that it felt just as good on my end! :) E

  2. A classic exchange of energy between the two of you!

  3. Oh my! So true! Isn't it great to have friends willing to save us from ourselves? LOL! I'd definitely take the glass of wine over German flashcards any day, well done!